Which city comes to your mind when you hear ‘Times Square’ or ‘Manhattan’? New York City, right? New York City wears many crowns and is often regarded as a trendsetter. New York is actually a state with 5 boroughs - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. As for New York City, it is the largest and most populous city of this state. NYC is among the top 10 most visited cities in the world with almost 12.27 million international visitors coming here every year.
New York City (call it NYC or The Big Apple) is the center of culture, finance, politics and entertainment. So, if you wish to see some of the most famous landmarks in the world, plan a trip to New York City today.
When to Go
Weather in NYC is extreme in every sense. Bone chilling winters and heavy snowfall will force you to stay indoors. As for summers, they can be harsh too (though not too harsh or extreme). So, the best time to visit New York City is late spring and early summer. The weather is pleasant during this time and the streets are filled with parades and street fairs.
Getting around NYC is quite easy and hassle free (though peak hours traffic can be a big problem). There are many modes of transportation that one can avail in NYC, the famous yellow cabs being the most preferred one. You can also go for buses and subways. Although, the best way to roam around is on foot. New York is often called the ‘Walking City’ and it is the best way to explore this city. You can also opt for free New York walking tours.
What to See
Some of the world’s most famous buildings and landmarks are located in New York City. They are the main tourist attractions of this city attracting thousands of vacationers from different parts of the world.
- Statue of Liberty – This 152 feet tall building was France’s gift for America. Built in 1886, Statue of Liberty is a world famous symbol of freedom and also one of the most popular monuments in the world. Located on Liberty Island, one can enjoy a magnificent view of the New York Harbor and lower Manhattan from the statue.
- Empire State Building – This 381 m tall and 102-storey building is one of the most popular attractions of New York. Empire State Building opened in 1931 and is counted among the top 3 tallest buildings in the US today. There are 2 observation decks atop this building – 86th Floor Observatory (1,050 feet) and 102nd Floor Observatory (1,250 feet) providing a magnificent 360° views of New York City. On a clear day visitors can see for distances up to 80 miles from these decks.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art – Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Met is one of the top tourist attractions of NYC. There are over 2 million art works in this museum including collections like American decorative arts, Egyptian art, musical instruments, arms and armor, costumes and photographs.
- Rockefeller Center - Rockefeller Center is home to NBC-TV and radio. It is also a popular entertainment and shopping complex visited by thousands of New Yorkers every week. Come here during the winters to enjoy skating at its outdoor skating rink. There are shops, restaurants and an observation deck inside the center. For the best view of the New York’s skyline, buy tickets for ‘Top of the Rock’ Observation Deck.
- Brooklyn Bridge – Completed in 1883, Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge. It was also the world’s first bridge constructed of steel. The bridge is one of the most famous landmarks of NYC, spanning the East river from Manhattan. Brooklyn Bridge has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
Other Must See Attractions of NYC
- Fifth Avenue
- New York Public Library
- Chrysler Building
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- Wall Street
- St Patrick's Cathedral
- National September 11 Memorial & Museum
- Coney Island
- The Cloisters
- Grand Central Station
Things to Do
- Broadway – It is the oldest street in NYC. The part of Broadway between 42nd and 53rd streets is known as the ‘Theatre District’ and houses more than 40 large professional theaters. You can even call it the pinnacle of American theater. A variety of productions including plays and musicals are performed at the Broadway all year long. If you wish to see a popular Broadway production, don’t forget to buy the tickets in advance as you just can’t miss watching a Broadway musical when in New York City.
- Central Park – No visit to New York City can be complete if you don’t see the famous Central Park. You can call this 843 acre park an oasis of trees, gardens, arches, meadows, statues and much more. Central Park is a hub of many activities where you can indulge yourself in hiking, biking, ice-skating (during winters) or even a live-concert. You can even come here for a family picnic on the weekend.
- Times Square - Renamed in 1904 after the New York Times tower, Times Square was earlier called Longacre Square. Times Square is the most famous commercial intersection in the world. The New Year celebrations at Times Square attract almost millions of visitors every year. People in different parts of the world also wait for the famous New Year's Eve Ball Drop every year. There is no better way to ring in the New Year, especially when you are in New York City.
- Buy a MTA MetroCard (for 7-day unlimited ride) that can be used for both subways and buses.
- In NYC it is customary to tip 15% to 20% of the total bill value to waiters, bartenders and taxi drivers.
- While walking leave the sidewalk for other walkers to pass. Never try to block the entire sidewalk.
- New Yorkers are often in hurry. So, when in New York, try to do (like walk faster) what New Yorkers do.
- Do not carry large or bulky bags on subways and buses.
- Pre-decide your order before you get to the counter as New Yorkers do not like to wait in the line for their orders.
- Always step aside if you have to stop on the sidewalk.
- Try not to stare your surroundings.